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Gian Franco Goldwurm (Italy) [1]



To tell the history of Collegium Internationale Activitatis Nervosae Superioris (CIANS) is more difficult than I expected.

It�s a troubled history also because such was the history of our Countries and of ourselves during the second half of the last century.

Mine cannot be but a personal contribution of what I lived at that time.

I think that history must be interpreted from the present. And the present is what we are and what we want to be. Here is where I want to start from.

First, we would like to be an interdisciplinary space in which we can know, compare and discuss biological, physiological, neurological, psychiatric, psychological, educational and social problems. A space where we can focus our attention on the connection and the interdependence between behaviours, cognitions and emotions, the superior nervous functions, the somatic functions, as well as the impact of the natural and social environment the human beings live in.

Second, we would like to be an international space of connection and comparison not only of different disciplines but also of scholars from different countries.

Third, we would like to find important objects and stimulate the work on these crucial and significant points common to clinical and experimental studies.

Jagla (2003) for instance proposed two objectives, or wishes: �One is that our colleagues from clinical practice faced with the complexities of the integrative nervous functions would increase their interest for theoretical grounds of problems under study. The other concerns the experimental researchers. It will be very useful when they could more take in account the clinical aspects of brain integrations when planning the experimental studies. Both the above approaches could be more closely incorporated into the program of our Collegium�.

Jagla (2003) completes his thought as follow: �The underlying philosophy of CIANS is to promote the interdisciplinary scientific cooperation in the field of the experimental and clinical research and concerns the integrative functions of the brain, neurobiology of behaviour and psychosomatic relationship in health and disease.�

In practice the aims of CIANS as delineated in the statute and in the by-law, art. 2, are:


a) to promote the interdisciplinary scientific meeting in the field of cognitive and behavioural sciences, psychology, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, biomedical sciences and other disciplines concerned with health and disease, emphasizing the role of integrative Higher Nervous Functions;

b) to foster collaborative studies, both experimental and clinical, concerned with the development and integration of biological, psychological and social sciences relevant to treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of disease and disability, and to the promotion of health and quality of life;

c) to spread knowledge of the impact of cognition, behaviour, life style, the stressful life events and other psychosomatic factors on health related quality of life;

d) to foster the education of social and health care professionals, emphasizing integrative approaches to health promotion.  

Then it comes who we are: we are a group of scholars of various disciplines who try to meet regularly, with good will but maybe little homogeneous and sometimes little organized though with the intent to stimulate in ourselves and in the congress we take part in, as this one, interdisciplinarity and integration on an international level.

A little group of scholars with a great history behind. Figure 1 � W. Horsley Gantt, M.D.  (1892-1980), the first president of CIANS

What unites us, and I am very proud of it, is the pavlovian origin that is in the name of the Collegium itself.

Our first President was a distinguished pupil of Pavlov: W. Horsley Gantt  who was also the founder and first president of The Pavlovian Society of North America Figure 2 - Credit of The Pavlovian Society .

As regards our history we are proud to say that �it is the oldest international society in the field of behavioural neuroscience, integrative physiology and psychosomatic medicine�.

Our Statute, amended in 1988 and accepted by postal ballot in 1989, declares at article 2 that �CIANS was organized in 1958 and formally founded in 1960�. I don�t possess any document about this.

The first mention regards 1959 and it�s contained in the journal Activitas Nervosa Superior of 1985 

Figure 3 � Cover of Activitas Nervosa Superior, vol. 27, Dic. 1985. to celebrate the 25th anniversary of CIANS: �For these reasons, in 1959 discussions were initiated regarding the possibilities for international cooperation in the study of higher nervous functions among the following scientific bodies�, five societies among which the Pavlovian Society of North America: Czechoslovak Society for Higher Nervous Activity; Japanese Society for the Study of Conditioned Reflexes (J. Neuroscience Soc.); I.P. Pavlov Physiological Society of the USSR Academy of Sciences; The Pavlovian Committee (GDR Neuroscience Society).

Ruttkay Nedeck� (2000) says that in 1959 was founded in Czechoslovakia the �Society for the Study of Higher Nervous Activity�.

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[1] With the collaboration of Federico Colombo.

[2] Part of this work was presented at the Symposium for CIANS in 8th Multidisciplinary International Conference of Biological Psychiatry �Stress and Behavior� held in St. Petersburg, May, 17-19, 2004.

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